As the Democratic National Convention wraps up in Denver and the Republican National Convention is just around the corner, both parties are trying to build up momentum for their candidates as we head into the election.
Outside the spectacle of the conventions, however, Americans will need to evaluate each candidate based on the issues and one of the top issues is health care.
Both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain share common ground on the issue. According to the non-profit, non-partisan, Families USA, both candidates want to control health care costs, they both want more access to information and both stress the importance of disease prevention and control.
But as the organization points out, they have marked differences in how the system is organized and how it should be paid for. Here are the proposals for each candidate.
Senator McCain’s Health Care Proposal
Senator McCain offers a radical restructuring of America’s health care system. His health care proposal is built around these key elements:
* His proposal seeks to move Americans from group coverage—especially the employer-based coverage they have today—to individual coverage, so that each individual has to negotiate directly with insurance companies over premium prices and benefits. Senator McCain’s proposal also includes tax code changes that will weaken existing employer-based coverage.
* His proposal does not support regulations—even those in existence today—that protect consumers from insurance company abuses, such as cherry-picking and charging unaffordably high premiums to people with pre-existing conditions or family histories of health problems.
* His proposal encourages the sale of high-deductible insurance policies that attempt to deal with health care costs by requiring individuals to pay more out of their own pockets for health care.
Senator Obama’s Health Care Proposal
Senator Obama’s proposal builds on our current system of health coverage, preserving what works and strengthening aspects of the system that need improvement. His proposal is built around these key elements:
* His proposal allows workers to keep the group coverage they now have through their jobs. Employers help 180 million workers and their dependents obtain coverage today, and Senator Obama recognizes the importance of this financial support. His proposal strengthens the group-based insurance system, rather than moving toward individual insurance, since groups have more clout in bargaining for lower premiums and better benefits.
* His proposal establishes a National Health Insurance Exchange that will enable people and businesses to purchase health coverage like members of Congress and federal employees have today. This Exchange gives people new choices of plans that cover the services that they need, and it promotes portability when people move from one job to another or are laid off.
* His proposal regulates insurance companies so that they can no longer cherry-pick only the young and healthy and deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. In addition, Senator Obama’s proposal establishes reasonable limits on what families have to pay out of their own pockets for health care.
If you would like more information on where the candidates stand, please visit familiesusa.org
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